Drexel Hill, Pa. (CBS) – Four people, including a 2-month-old baby, were on board a medical helicopter when it crashed in Delaware County Tuesday afternoon. The helicopter was on its way from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania to Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, when it crashed near Drexel Hill United Methodist Church on the 600 block of Bermont Road in Drexel Hill just before 1 p.m.
Officials say the crash was a miracle landing as the area where the medical helicopter crashed is heavily trafficked and no one outside the helicopter was injured.
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All four people aboard the chopper were able to extricate themselves with non-fatal injuries.
Eyewitness reports have learned that all four people on board the helicopter have survived and the pilot has suffered the most serious injuries. Officials say that the condition of all four is stable.
“Around 1 a.m., we started getting 911 calls for a helicopter in distress. Officers and the fire department responded in the area and they placed this helicopter behind us, which crashed into the back of the building,” said Upper Darby Superintendent of Police Timothy Bernhardt. “What we do know is that there were four members on the helicopter – three of them the crew, the pilot, one of them an infant. They were on their way to CHOP, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. So far, no non-fatal injuries. The child has been taken to the CHOP and the other two are in local hospitals.
Bernhardt said he had initially received reports that the helicopter had begun experiencing a malfunction on Route 1. Investigators are still trying to determine why the helicopter was in trouble.
“By all accounts, what the pilot was able to do is amazing,” said Delaware County Council President Dr. Monica Taylor. “Our reports indicate that he first started experiencing trouble on Route 1 and was looking for somewhere to land and was able to make it down Bermont, and as you can see from the scene, there There are no poles either.”
“It’s really a testament to the pilot and what he was able to do to keep everyone safe,” Taylor said. “It’s amazing, it’s a miracle that no major injuries were caused by this accident.”
Bernhardt said that his “heart just fell” when he first heard of the report.
“I was back at the police headquarters. We heard the call out, the first call I said, ‘Not at all,’ and then the second, then the third. I knew there was a problem,” he said. “My heart just dropped. It’s a true miracle that everyone was out and they were out before we even got here.”
About 30 firefighters and seven medical units were at the scene.
“Obviously, this pilot had a great command of the helicopter and was able to land it safely, putting the best interest of the community in hand,” said Upper Darby Fire Chief Derrick Sawyer. “It was a miracle in the works where no lives were lost and no property was damaged.”
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An eyewitness says first responders rushed to the scene. He told eyewitnesses that he went out with his neighbor and that the responders arrived almost immediately.
“They were on the scene really quickly, the opening sound alerted me and my dog as I was getting the shoes. I had already heard sirens going down the street,” he said.
ooh shit pic.twitter.com/1WavCNZBkR
— Sturdy Julio (@1843Julio) 11 January 2022
Jarrell Saunders said, “The initial contact with the ground was a boom, as if some metal were falling from the sky.”
Eyewitness video shows smoke billowing out of the plane. The fire chief says that there was still about an hour of fuel left.
“Jet fuel was just coming out of it,” said Lisa Smith, a witness. “I believe it was the pilot who was really taking people out.”
Nearby people and passersby reached the spot to help. In this picture a woman is seen carrying the baby away from the rubble.
A Fed-Ex driver. neighbors. Strangers. They were also the ones who rushed to help the four men whose helicopter crashed at Drexel Hill. Alexa Sheeran took the picture and said the woman at the center was safely pulling a two-month-old baby girl out of the rubble. 1/2 @CBSPhilly pic.twitter.com/WNqh9Ei0kt
— Joe Holden (@joholdencbs3) 12 January 2022
“They were very brave,” said Iris DiBernardo. “People were just running over there.”
A family out of work told Eyewitness News that they were right next to Drexel Hill United Methodist Church when they saw the medical helicopter landing. At first, he thought it was a little closer and then realized it was heading straight towards him.
They managed to get out of harm’s way, and although there was a lot of debris on their windshield from the strong wind and crash, no one inside their car was hurt. He was horrified and says that he is grateful that he escaped death.
A medical helicopter crashed into the side of a church after a spooky afternoon in Delaware County. All the occupants were taken to the nearest hospital. Waiting for NTSB to come@CBSPhillyOpinion pic.twitter.com/Hkh7hl0YoK
— Alessia Reid (@alecia__reid) 11 January 2022
“When it happened I actually froze for a second because I was just watching a helicopter,” said Joshua James of Lansdowne. “There’s no way to explain it. It almost sounds like something from Game of Thrones, you see a dragon coming to your car because it was literally in the sky, a huge object was coming towards you. It’s crazy.” Was. “
The National Transportation Safety Board is going to investigate the cause of the accident.
Air Methods says it will cooperate fully with investigators regarding the accident.
“The EC 135 aircraft in question was from the Lifenet program out of Hagerstown, Maryland. There were no fatalities from the accident and the patient and crew are being medically evaluated. The FAA and NTSB have been apprised of the incident and investigators We are on the way to assess the situation,” Air Methods vice president of communications Doug Flanders said in a statement. “Our team will fully cooperate in their efforts to assess the cause of this unfortunate accident. Privacy rights will be respected with respect to people on board the aircraft, and we will not share any additional information.”
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CBS3’s Joe Holden, Alessia Reid and Alicia Roberts contributed to this report.